Its not easy to capture the sprit of a place, to convey a sense of how you felt being there and then communicate it with a “foreign” audience – who probably have no knowledge of this place whatsoever. Nick Stranks and Isobel Rayson have done a bloody good job of sharing their experience as residents with the Ou Gallery, Duncan, on Vancouver Island, Canada. It looks like a brilliant place to work and their exhibition Up Island inspired me to do a quick Google tour of the locality and gallery. https://www.theougallery.com As you might expect there is incredible natural beauty, dense forests, rivers and glacial lakes, and a sleepy lifestyle that enables artists to fully engage with the environment. Producing work from local materials made the project even trickier as Australian Customs are unimpressed by artists who return with suitcases full of wood, leaves etc … and so Isobel and Nick had to recreate a characteristic western Canadian ambience with objects and materials from Australia. And they nailed it. Apart from the imaginative ways they have rendered and remembered their experience as artists in residence at the Ou and on the Island you also get the sense that these are artists who are totally comfortable with the idea of working natural materials and objects to communicate atmosphere – so even if you haven’t been there you will feel as though you have. At CCAS Manuka 19 Furneaux Street Forrest Friday – Sunday 21-23 June.
Nick Stranks has been supported through a CAPO award sponsored by Shaw and Partners.
Isobel Rayson is represented by M. Contemporary Gallery, Sydney and Boom Gallery, Geelong.